2014 Impact Report: Volunteer Engagement Shows Signs of Recovery

2014 Impact Report 2“Our democracy works because ordinary folks, well-meaning people, each and every day are trying to make it a little bit better.”  -Barack Obama, May 4, 2015

Every year, VolunteerMatch crunches its network data to put together an Impact Report, our infographic version of an annual report. And each year, the report offers insights into volunteer engagement trends, and the people and causes making a difference in neighborhoods across the country.

This year, we discovered five encouraging stats that show the nonprofit sector and volunteer engagement may finally be recovering from the economic recession.

Volunteer Engagement by the Numbers:

Stats from VolunteerMatch's 2014 Impact Report

  • 99,132 – the number of groups and causes on VolunteerMatch. working to engage the volunteers they need to make a difference in their community. A record 8,200 new causes registered in 2014.
  • 20% – the increase in new opportunities posted on VolunteerMatch by local causes and groups, inviting volunteers to put their time and talent to good use for a cause they believe in, as compared with 2013.
  • 13,285,814 – the number of potential volunteers accessing VolunteerMatch to find their opportunity match to make a difference.
  • 44% — the increase in the number of potential volunteers who connected with a local cause or organization, as compared with 2013.
  • $1.34 Billion — the estimated collective impact of the volunteers who used VolunteerMatch in 2014 to get involved.

If you are looking for more data and insights into the health of volunteer engagement, view the full report.

The New Face Behind @VolunteerMatch (And Much More!)

The following post is by Stephanie Hong, one of VolunteerMatch’s newest employee. Please join us in welcoming Stephanie to the team!

Stephanie Hong, VolunteerMatch's Community Engagement ManagerMy first memory of volunteering was when I was 7 years old. My older brother was in the Boy Scouts and I tagged along for their Habitat for Humanity project. I still recall that day: it was warm but breezy, everyone was in a good mood, and we finished ahead of schedule. Granted, I was too young to do any heavy lifting, but I remember feeling a wave of emotion when we completed the project.

Flash forward to now – I’m still addicted to that feeling. From helping various animal welfare organizations, to partnering with local food banks, to being an animal keeper at a museum, volunteering has brought me so many fond memories. And now I get to make it part of my career! I’ve joined VolunteerMatch as the Community Engagement Manager. #Woohoo!

As the Community Engagement Manager, I am the voice of VolunteerMatch on social media. Actually, not just the voice, but the cheerleader. The person who gets nonprofits, volunteers, and companies excited to change the (gimme a) W-O-R-L-D. Analytics and advertising are also in my court. Meaning, not only do I cheer everyone on, I also make sure we’re doing it right and getting in front of as many faces as possible.

With experience from the advertising industry and, most recently, media at the San Francisco SPCA, I bring forth marketing expertise, an investigative mind, and a big heart. Spreading VolunteerMatch’s mission is easy; the hard part will be getting people to act. But that is what drives me to do more, and, ultimately, drove me to join VolunteerMatch and its wonderful Engagement team. I want everyone to feel the feeling I felt when I was 7 years old.

To learn more about me, my career, and projects I’ve worked on, connect with me on LinkedIn. To join the VolunteerMatch conversation, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, & Facebook. Cheers to new adventures in volunteerism, corporate social responsibility, and people wanting to do good!

35 Volunteer Engagement Experts. One Book.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: VolunteerMatch's New BookFourteen months since I left VolunteerMatch to travel the world, I’m delighted to be back in the pages of EngagingVolunteers.org with an important announcement.

On May 26, 2015, VolunteerMatch’s new book on volunteer engagement for nonprofits, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, will be available for purchase!

Following VolunteerMatch’s approach to training and capacity building, I asked 35 of the smartest volunteer engagement consultants, trainers, and practitioners to share their thoughts on what’s truly important for transforming volunteerism into lasting impact. The result brings together under a single cover one of the greatest collections of experts and practitioners in volunteer engagement that the field has ever seen.

No, this isn’t a how-to guide for “managing” volunteers. Although of course that kind of thing is important. Volunteer Engagement 2.0 is about ideas.

VolunteerMatch is committed to broadening the conversation around volunteer engagement. If you have ever attend VolunteerMatch’s Nonprofit Insights webinar series, you’ve seen that firsthand. What are the concepts, the trends, and the big ideas that are impacting how nonprofits and individuals work together to transform human capital and care into impact?  You can now find them all in one place: Volunteer Engagement 2.0.

Striking a balance between actionable strategy and broad discussion of the issues surrounding volunteerism, Volunteer Engagement 2.0 helps readers craft a strategy that reflects their organization’s mission. Here are some of the ways you’ll be able to get immediate benefit from Volunteer Engagement 2.0:

  • Track the history of volunteerism, as well as the social, cultural, and technological shifts that will shape its future.
  • Keep current volunteers on board, and engage additional volunteers, donors, and board members.
  • Use new tools and trends such as social media, microvolunteering, virtual volunteering, and hackathons.
  • Recruit corporate partners, adopt skilled volunteers, and identify pro bono resources.
  • Quantify and evaluate your volunteer program’s effectiveness, and adjust your strategies.

As for the contributors, well, this is an all-star list. How about DoSomething’s Aria Finger on engaging millennials, LinkedIn’s Meg Garlinghouse on skilled volunteerism, Beth Kanter on measuring volunteer engagement, Susan J. Ellis on what “change” means in volunteer engagement, Joe Waters on Cause Marketing and volunteering, Jayne Cravens on virtual volunteering, Points of Light’s Amy Smith on service enterprises… the list goes on and on.

And it’s a crazy great list. For the last year I’ve been in Asia exploring NGOs in Thailand, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, among other places. It’s a big world with lots of challenges but also a lot of amazing organizations doing great work. Similarly, bringing the best ideas and insights from around the sector to you – all in one place ­– is what Volunteer Engagement 2.0 is all about. Pre-order your copy today.

Robert Rosenthal, Editor of Volunteerism 2.0Robert Rosenthal is a consultant for social change and sustainable development with more than 15 years of experience helping nonprofits, corporations and social enterprises connect with audiences, design programs, and communicate impact. Previously he headed communications and marketing for VolunteerMatch, the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, where he worked from 2006-2014. Robert is an active writer and trainer, and frequently speaks to audiences about fundraising, volunteering, public relations, cause marketing, social media and corporate social responsibility. Find him on Twitter at @socialgoodR.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: NYC Service and VolunteerMatch

NYC Service and VolunteerMatch are better together.Hey New York City nonprofits! Great news!

Starting this week – just in time for National Volunteer Week – all your VolunteerMatch listings will automatically be posted to NYC Service. NYC Service is breaking new ground to become the first City of Service in the nation to adopt VolunteerMatch’s free Public Use API.

What does this mean?

NYC Service will have another thousand volunteer opportunities for New Yorkers looking to make a difference. No more double searching. It will also mean that VolunteerMatch’s nonprofit members will automatically gain additional exposure on the popular NYC Service website.

NYC Service and VolunteerMatch share a goal: To make it easier for nonprofits to connect with the volunteers they need. That’s why a partnership makes perfect sense.

Learn more about this exciting partnership from VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin.

VolunteerMatch Volunteers! An Afternoon at the SF-Marin Food Bank

Rice. Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of it. Scooping, weighing, packing. Talking, singing, laughing.

Such was the afternoon for VolunteerMatch staff a few weeks ago at the SF-Marin Food Bank. At least once a quarter, VolunteerMatch chooses a group volunteer activity to bring its employees together for a common cause.

Group Photo Food Bank

The VolunteerMatch Team at the SF-Marin Food Bank.

It was my first time volunteering at a food bank, and also, as a new employee at VolunteerMatch, my first time participating in an organization-wide volunteer day. Nervous about spending so much time with my new co-workers, and not knowing what to expect at the food bank, I arrived with slight hesitation.

We were immediately greeted by friendly staff, who thanked us for being there. We were trained on rice packing by a man full of jokes and good cheer. He turned the music on (an eclectic assortment of hits from the last 50 years) and we all got to work.

Measuring out rice doesn’t seem like a glamorous task. But the welcoming atmosphere ofTwo VolunteerMatch Staff volunteering at SF-Marin FoodBank the SF-Marin Food Bank paired with lively conversations with great people I’m just getting to know – well, the afternoon seemed like it ended too soon. We finished up by hearing stories about the families we were helping, and were sent off hailed as “superheroes”.

This opportunity showed me firsthand the value of employee volunteer programs. I had the chance to bond with my coworkers, and I’m proud to be a part of an organization that practices what it preaches. It also showed me the value of a well-run volunteer program, such as the one at the SF-Marin Food Bank. I will certainly be back.

Jeff Bautista, one of our Senior Client Relations Managers, put together this short video. You can see for yourself the impact VolunteerMatch had – as well as the fun we had. Enjoy!